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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Endeavor Community Service

Endeavor 5th Graders delivered 138 non perishable food items to the Shelburne Food Shelf!  Thank you for supporting us in this community service event.  We stocked the shelves of the food shelf and met Cathy Townsend the organizer of this great community resource.

 The Endeavor Team raised almost $800 for Hunger Free Vermont!  Thank you all for your effort and those of us who walked enjoyed the beautiful weather and this community hike together!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fire Prevention Day, Picture Day, Shelburne Farms

Endeavor 5th grade had another busy week!  We began Spelling/Word Study, we discovered a working definition for Rotational Symmetry, met a 911 dispatcher and talked about habits of being kind, and putting our best effort towards everything we do!

Here is a bulleted list by subject of what we accomplished this week!
Readers Workshop
*As their Reading Coach, I encouraged them to reflect on their reading and gave them strategies to use to make them read longer, stronger and faster!  We also did a little NECAP practice, writing a narrative paragraph and correcting grammar (commas, capitals and sentence structure).  This week we will continue with this practice.  We have been comparing our writing responses to "real 5th grade" responses, this shows us how we can put more effort into our work and make our responses score higher than a 1 or 2, we are striving for 3 or 4 points for our responses.

Writers Workshop
*As their Writing Coach, I encouraged them to think about how they were going to make writing the best it could be this year.  We recorded this reflection on our Kidblog, we were able to read the reflections of peers and leave comments for them.  Curious about our Kidblog, ask your child to show you, they can log on from home by using the link on the Endeavor webpage.  This week we also added to our lists of First, Last and Times we realized something.  Thanks to our Turning Point shares, students have been able to make connections with one another and add to their writing topic lists.  We also wrote fast and furious about our names and the stories they hold.  Next week we will do some practice NECAP writing as well as build some entries in our journals.  We also hope to bring home our pocket notebooks, to jot down the stories that surround us at all times!

*This week we unpacked multiplication and division.  We were able to talk about multiplication and division as inverse operations and we discovered the commutative property.  We talked about important vocabulary such as factor, product, dividend, divisor and quotient.  Our core math ideas this week were: Array models allow mathematicians to visualize and understand multiplication as division. Mathematicians think of division in terms of sharing and grouping.  During Number Corner we continued to make thoughtful mathematical observations about our calendar pattern and our two penny toss data. are working hard to define and understand reflective as well as rotational symmetry.  We had an exciting seminar on rotational symmetry, here is what Lucas has to say about what we discovered!

video coming soon....

Lastly, our Shelburne Farms fieldtrip was so worthwhile!  The weather was beautiful and the engagement from all students and chaperones was high as we tackled our group work skills.  Each group was involved in activities that honed in on team building, habits of mind such as listening, responsibility, accuracy and precision, collaboration, and interdependence.  One group harvested vegetables from the Market Garden and prepared them, another group worked had to build a fire! Trough these activities the Shelburne Farms staff strived to have students realize that we all have skills, opinions, and ideas to offer and that together we can accomplish more and we can learn form one another! Photos from the trip at the top of this post!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Our first Full Week!

We had an incredible first full week!  We finally had Art class, we logged into Fastt Math, we had indoor recess, we logged onto out Kidblog pages and we had another Snack Shack!  Your children also worked diligently on math and reading assessments this week!  We will be prepping for NECAP next week as testing begins October 1st!

Our Wednesday Math class was challenging, yet every child persevered to understand the different strategies we can use to solve Cube Sequence Problems.  We started the lesson by reminding ourselves that productive mathematicians make thoughtful observations about sequences, equations, patterns, etc., before they can do any work with a problem.  By reinforcing this, we generalized about the sequence that we were working with.  We knew that the pattern increased by 5 each time, we knew that the arms of the arrangements were one shorter than the sequence number and we knew that we need to account for the nested cube!  We worked to solve problems to figure out the 16th arrangement, arrangement 21/2 and we even had to work backwards to figure out arrangement numbers when the total amount of cubes was given!  As we shared our strategies, we saw that to solve these problems we could create a table, simply count the cubes, draw diagrams, and come up with our own algebraic formulas!  Without our thoughtful mathematical observations, none of these strategies would have worked!  During our discussion students took the time to practice many habits of mind and interaction.  I was witness to students explaining their thinking, revoicing other student thinking, finding and using multiple pathways to solve problems, and justifying and generalizing about their thinking.  These habits are integrated into our teaching, all day long.  The hope is that they become internalized and that students are more successful because they are interacting with the content as well as one another to deepen their understanding!

On Thursday, our class logged into our Kidblog site!  Every child was able to write a post titled "All About Me" and practiced leaving comments for one another.  The activity that this Kidblog has generated at home has been tremendous.  I can barely keep up with moderating  the comments.  I will be posting prompts for students to respond to, or at times we may record a reflection about our learning, or we may simply do some creative writing.  This blog gives us an authentic audience to share our work with.  Soon, I will be asking you to log into to our blog and leave comments for your child as well as others students about their writing.  My three rules for this are Be Responsible, Be Safe and Be Kind!  Ask your child to share our Kidblog with you!

Lastly, we shared our timelines in a museum format on Friday!  Endeavor students asked such thoughtful questions of one another, shared thoughtful comments about student work and learned about so many connections we have with one another from our lives!  A few of us were born in China, some of us have visited Italy and France, we play a lot of the same sports, we've been to Jay Peak, had special birthdays and all of us cherish members of our family!    These timelines will be on display in the kiva!  The kiva is truly becoming a place where every student and adult on our team is recognized and celebrated!  We are all part of our community!

Many, many things came home in your child's Homework Folder.  Please go over its content with them.  We still need 1 more chaperone for Shelburne Farms!  We need nonperishable food items for our Food Drive!  If you plan to hike, don't forget to sign your child up for Hike for Hunger on September 28th! We sent home our sharing schedule for September, 2 children a day will share a Turning Point from their lives!  Happy Fall!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lots and lots of presents!

Our week was full so many thoughtful and mature discussions about Hike for Hunger and food insecurity, reading resolutions, perseverance and homework!

Our classroom has already raised $320 for Hunger Free Vermont by simply talking to neighbors, friends and family about the important work that is being done to ensure that Vermonters, no matter their age, race and level of need, can get healthy and nutritious food.  We can't believe that some Vermonter's have to survive on $1.80 per meal!  Thank you for supporting your child and his or her enthusiasm in fundraising for this community event.  If your child will be hiking on September 28th at Catamount Family Center, please sign them up at Hunger Free Vermont (or use link at top of page). We know that not all students can participate in the walk, so we have decided to have a Food Drive through September 27th.  On this day, we hope to bring at least 100 non perishable food items to the Shelburne Food Shelf!  We are so excited about supporting our local community as well as the broader community that benefits from the resources and agencies that Hunger Free Vermont works with!

This week Endeavor 5th Grade received a lot of tools to aid them in the classroom.  During Readers Workshop we have been developing our routine, thinking and writing about our best reading memories, our worst reading memories and creating a list of ways that we can ensure that we will make reading the best that it can be this year!  Together our class is working hard to keep the classroom quiet, to ignore distractions by keeping our eyes and noses in our books, using reading logs to track how many pages we can read in a session and throughout at week, and lastly we each created a reading resolution that is hanging in the classroom.  Throughout the year we will be able to reflect back on our reading resolutions to see how they are coming along, if we have achieved them or what help we may need to make them come true!  The best part of readers workshop was receiving our new Reader's Notebooks! They are organized with tabs (sections), resources, graphic organizers, everything you could think of to aid us in our thinking and writing about books and reading!  We also got sticky notes and new pens!

Writers Workshop this week involved time to personalize our Writers Notebooks, an on demand narrative writing prompt (so i can see what these 5th graders know about the structure, development and conventions of a narrative) and some quick idea generating strategies that we got to try out in our notebooks!  Next week we will continue with these lessons as we being to develop our first writing project.

During Math this week we were busy working in partnerships to create displays of our class height data.  I was impressed by the variety of displays that students created.  We had bar graphs, line plots, and organized charts.  5th graders worked together to even find the mean, mode, median and average of our data!  We began Number Corner and have begun noticing patterns in our calendar, running 2 penny toss trials and collecting data and even finding time to do some mental math and problem solving.  Your mathematicians have come up with class agreements for math time (really for all parts of the day) like respecting one another's thinking, agreeing to disagree and to listen and encourage one another to share his or her ideas!

Lastly, goal sheets are coming hime today in your child's homework folder.  Please take the time to review this sheet with your child and work together to plan out the week and the time they will need to accomplish all of the assignments.  We went over the sheet and even mapped out the days for homework and pretended to assign certain items to certain days.  The purpose of this activity was to show kids how they need to plan their week and spread out their homework and manage their time so that it does not all pile up on the last night!  We will continue to do this activity on Fridays with our weekly goal sheet.  If you would like more information on Executive Functioning, visit

The executive functions are a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one's resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation.

Cara and I have been trying out some organizational techniques from cognitive connection therapy, we and all CSSU teachers and staff were lucky enough to hear a presentation from Sarah Ward, the brains behind this research!